June 3, 2023
C. RUUD/Z. Zhizhen
4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Casper, well played again today.
CASPER RUUD: Thank you.
Q. This time last year I said that you reminded me of Casper the Ghost because you almost ghosted into the second week without a lot of people noticing. Are you still haunted by what happened in the final? How spooked out should the rest of the field be that you're playing scarily good right now?
CASPER RUUD: Nice wordplay there (smiling).
I'm not really haunted by what happened last year in the final honestly. I mean, like I said, I think last year I'm not the first victim to lose to Rafa in the final. Of course I wish I could have done a little better and so on, but was my first one.
Physically I was maybe a bit tired, you know, taking into account I had made semis in Rome and won Geneva and came straight here. So it was a lot of matches for me and not blaming my physical aspects for the loss or anything. But it was tough to play the toughest player you can play on clay in the first final.
Not really haunted by it, but yeah, I think I am -- some more eyes on me maybe this year than last year. But yeah, it's been sort of quiet so far. Been able to do my job and play my matches and get on in the tournament.
So I'm very happy and moving closer to second week. That's where, you know, you really need to step up your game and play your A game if you want to do well and continue winning.
Now there are a lot of great players left, and I think that's what I learned from last year that, you know, the real, real challenge, not tournament, but the real fun starts now, and if you want to be a part of it, you need to play your A game.
Q. How could you describe your philosophic feeling about clay? We know Rafa had some ritual, some habits on the court. He cleaned the line, something like that. Do you have any ritual when you enter on the court between the points, after the points?
CASPER RUUD: Not really. I just do the same routine when I bounce the ball whether it's hard court or clay, but I think just I enjoy the fact that I have clay under my shoes, to put it this way.
I think hard court is pretty rough for joints and the body to play on and run on and stop and all these things. While on clay you can slide a little bit more and I think physically it's a bit maybe tougher in ways that points will most likely be longer than on hard court. I think you've seen this this year with a couple of matches going over five hours long. It's because it's more sort of playable and the ball is a little slower here than on hard court.
But then on hard court obviously it's really tough because your body will be torn down I think because it's pretty rough to your joints and knees, ankles, hips all these things.
I just like the fact that I can slide on the surface, on the clay, and I think, you know, it's one of the most historic surfaces to me. It's nice between the sets you see the courts getting watered. It's a lot of sort of things that are different on clay than on hard court.
But I don't have any more rituals than this. Sometimes I also clean the lines, but it's not like I have to do that every single time before I play.
Yeah, some things are different from clay than hard court.
Q. Congrats on your first week. I wanted to ask you how happy are you with your level at the moment? You struggled a bit with confidence at the start of the year, especially when compared with last season. And just a quick one on the possibility of facing again Jarry maybe 10 days or something later in different conditions obviously with no altitude, but just a word on that.
CASPER RUUD: Yeah, level is getting better. I think I still don't feel like I'm playing like, what should I say, error-free, in a way. I still feel like there are things I can improve and I can make less errors than I have done in some moments in my matches.
So I still feel like there is a level that I haven't played yet that I can bring out and I will need to bring out now going into the second week, for sure.
I'm very happy with being through the first three matches. It's tough. For me this year it's been much more pressure, obviously, playing this year compared to last year. Last year, as you said a little bit earlier, I could sort of just do my work in the shadow. This year it's a little more eyes on me. I'm having to defend final and so on, so I felt the pressure a bit different this year.
But I'm through to the second week and the fourth round. I'm going to try to let a little bit more loose and feel like I have won some good matches so far. So I'm going to try to build on it.
Yeah, if I play Jarry, it's going to be another tough match. It was close and tough in Geneva. Felt like it could have gone either way. It went his way.
Yeah, I'm going to hope that the altitude being less here and sea level here it's gonna help slow the ball down a little bit. He's playing great. He won three great matches. Going to prepare for a very tough match.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports